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how do you grow a squash?  RSS feed

 
Betty Lamb
Posts: 62
Location: Vancouver Island, Zone??
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Hello,

I don't know how to garden, BUT when I discovered permaculture it all made sense and now I am very enthusiastic and have already got a hugel bed in the back yard. HOWEVER. There are enormous gaps in my knowledge. Soooo hopefully someone could answer my question.

I have spagehtti squash seeds straight out of the squash (it was yesterday's lunch) can I just dump those seeds in my hugel bed now? or do I have to dry them or soak them or... um.... also it's very moist in the PNW right now and it still freezes from time to time. So should I wait till spring to plant them?

Thanks!
 
Craig Dobbson
master steward
Posts: 1737
Location: Maine (zone 5)
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I typically take the seeds from my squash and dry them on a dish towel. Once fully dry, they go in a plastic bag and get stored in a cool dry place. I wait til after my last frost(may-ish) has passed by a week or so and then I plant my squash. I always seed a few times over the course of the next 6 weeks. Squash are not going to hold up to a frost if they have sprouted and if you plant them while the seeds are wet, they may just rot in the ground.

BUT... I have thrown half rotted squash into the snow during January and come back to that area in the spring to find a colony of squash seedlings.

SO... your results may vary.
 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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Welcome to permies Betty!
Watch out, maybe hugels have replaced chickens as the permaculture 'gateway drug'
I'd definitely wait till it warms-late spring is general squash-planting time round here.
As Craig says, you can just dry squash seeds, but I find leaving flesh on makes them more likely to mould.
I ferment my squash and tomato seeds.
I cover seeds with water and leave in a warm place till the water's surface starts to look bubbly-usually around 5-7 days.
I've forgotten about pumpkin seeds for a couple of weeks and they've been fine, although the water smelled pretty bad!
If the flesh comes off cleanly when I rub a couple of seeds between my fingers, they're ready to go.
I dump them in a sieve and rub off all the flesh,
give them a good rinse and leave to dry in the shade for several days.
It's really important they're completely dry, or they'll go mouldy in storage.
 
Miles Flansburg
steward
Posts: 3903
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
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Hello Betty!

Do you have any neighbors who garden there? Keep an eye out to see when they plant their seeds, or just ask, gardeners love to share!
 
Sarah Allen
Posts: 3
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I've not tried to grow squash, but my grandfather gets excellent results. He says that you need to grow them in pairs, two plants to a mound. My dad does the same thing, but he direct seeds and doesn't seem to get quite as much productivity on the winter varieties. But between the two of them there are enough that I don't have to grow squash! They also save the seeds out of last years' produce--make sure to dry them. You might start the seeds indoors and put your plants in a mound after the last frost.
 
Peter Ellis
Posts: 1432
Location: Central New Jersey
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Welcome, Betty.
a couple of thoughts. Plants grow without people being involved. Part of how they do it is to throw lots of attempts out there. In a natural system the area would be overrun with squash very quickly if all the seeds one plant produced were to germinate successfully. Nature accepts loses and plans accordingly.

You could just take your squash seeds and toss them into your garden plot tomorrow and take your chances on what happens next. In fact, if I were in your place, I would probably do just that. But I like to experiment and I would think of any squash plants that came from this one as a sort of bonus

People tend to want a higher success rate from the things they plant than Nature expects from her efforts, and so we do things to give our seeds a better chance. We take them in where animals are less likely to get to them. Dry them against fungus and other rots. We start them carefully in special pots, or hold off planting them until the weather is favorable for their kind. We do all this because we want as high a germination rate as we can get.

We put lots of work into getting that high germination rate. At the same time, one of the ideas with permaculture gardening is to try and do as little as possible. To let the natural order handle as much of the work as possible.

Self-seeding annuals are one of the ways to achieve this. For example, let us say you plant your squash seeds in the spring after the last frosts, and you have a good year with numerous squash in the fall. When you harvest, you miss a couple that are hidden under he big leaves. Critters get to them, chew them up, eat some seeds, stash some seeds, knock some seeds around and scuffle them into the dirt a bit. Come spring, some of those forgotten stash seeds start sprouting. Some of those scuffled under the dirt pop up in another place. You have squash growing again, and you did not do a thing, except Not harvest one or two fruit last fall.

How you do your garden depends on many things and there are many different ways hat work. People choose to maximize different elements, resulting in different approaches. It is all good.
 
Paul Cereghino
gardener
Posts: 856
Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
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Just south of you... Start winter seedlings in pots around April 1-30 to transplant May 15-June 1. Earlier if you have a warm site in a warm year, later for a cold site in a cold year. Make sure the they get direct sun right up against a south window. Spritz them with water to make them happy inside. You want a hot site in our climate... full sun, warm soil, the mound will do well. You want to let them ripen as long as possible for good storage. Don't let the seedlings get too big in the pot... (no more than 3-4 leaves?) If they are under any stress they'll get panicky and start to produce fruit when they are too little.

All the other ways might work too... I get plenty of wildlings from fruit that have rotted in the garden and sprouted in spring.
 
Matt Smaus
Posts: 37
Location: Minneapolis, MN
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I live in the PNW, as well, and second what Paul said, above. The one thing I'll add is that there is a very good chance that seed will not produce a spaghetti squash like the one you ate. Anything could have pollinated the squash, from a zucchini to a pumpkin. BUT, it will be fun to find out! I accidentally crossed a variety called "Sweet Meat" with a giant pumpkin, which I figured out only after they grew this year. And grew. And grew. And grew!
 
Peter Ellis
Posts: 1432
Location: Central New Jersey
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Matt Smaus wrote:I live in the PNW, as well, and second what Paul said, above. The one thing I'll add is that there is a very good chance that seed will not produce a spaghetti squash like the one you ate. Anything could have pollinated the squash, from a zucchini to a pumpkin. BUT, it will be fun to find out! I accidentally crossed a variety called "Sweet Meat" with a giant pumpkin, which I figured out only after they grew this year. And grew. And grew. And grew!


Squash are promiscuous, that's for sure. And some of the results are really visually interesting - like two different varieties were just glued together.
 
joseph wittenberg
Posts: 57
Location: aguanga, california
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You will probably have good luck if you get a mound of good soil, shove some seeds about a half inch down, water, and keep an eye on it. I think squash are really easy. Typically I take a handful of seeds, throw them around and cover with hay that has been in the goat area as bedding. Never had a problem that way.
 
Kim Schmidt
Posts: 20
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I've found squash easy to grow but susceptible to disease.

I agree with purchasing specific varieties rather than using seeds from your squash. It's fun to reuse some that were pollinated with a different variety if you have a lot of extra, but if you are looking forward to a specific variety, you don't want to end up with a bunch of weird hybrids that you don't even like.

Squash can be affected by mildews, squash bugs, squash vine borer (your area might be too cold for that though), and probably other stuff I'm not thinking about. I've typically had mine in the garden though. This year I'm going to try putting some seeds in various places around the property hoping the vine borers and squash bugs don't find all of them.

 
Betty Lamb
Posts: 62
Location: Vancouver Island, Zone??
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Gosh! thanks for the replies! I'm going to experiment. I'm in a due north facing downward sloping yard. So I'll just stick them in the soil and see what happens. And yes this Hugel bed has been the gateway drug for gardening. I've got my sunchoke rhizomes ready to go into my clayee crappy soil and see what happens. I've got a cloche over the hugel bed because I don't think it's warm enough. Luckily I never really have to water it because we get lots of run off, I'll have to divert it a bit.

Thanks again for all the replies!
 
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